The International Consumer Electronics Show was held only a little more than a month ago, but electronic companies are on the verge of reuniting one more time in Barcelona, Spain. The 2013 Mobile World Congress begins on Monday, Feb. 25, and there are going to be a flood of new handheld products on display.
Of course, the most exciting parts of these get-togethers are the surprises, but there have already been a number of leaks pointing towards new smartphone and tablet announcements. Here's a small round-up of what you can expect to hear about starting on Monday.
The Big Picture
Unlike previous years, the 2013 MWC is likely to focus on smartphones for emerging markets. Companies like Samsung are increasingly moving towards holding their own events for big announcements (no Galaxy S4 reveal at MWC this year, for example), therefore expect to see more coverage for products that don't typically hog the limelight. There will still be premium and high-end devices on display, of course, but the majority of the offerings will be fixated on delivering affordable phones to global customers.
Google will not have an official Android presence at this year's show, meaning that new software like Firefox and Ubuntu will have a chance to wow show-goers.
Mozilla's Firefox OS in particular has been developed expressly with affordability and global customers in mind. It was largely expected that because of this the OS wouldn't officially debut to the public until later this year in Brazil, but all signs point to Firefox phones having a presence in Barcelona.
As usual, the main attraction at MCW will be smartphones. Despite the fact that it's highly unlikely the Galaxy S4 will be there, other smartphone makers will try to cash in on its absence. LG will show off the Optimus G Pro, which it hopes will compete well with the Galaxy Note. The 5.5-inch phone continues the trend of phone/tablet hybrids (phablet) seeing better than expected success, and will be the primary draw in the Korean company's line-up. Pictures of the Optimus F- and L-Series have also leaked, so it's likely they'll be on display, too.
Last year, Nokia made waves by revealing a 41-megapixel camera called the 808 PureView, and rumors are circulating that there are plans to reveal a Windows Phone to take advantage of it. More budget-friendly Windows Phones are also expected, as the company has essentially bet the farm on Microsoft's mobile OS.
Chinese manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE are likely to be a big presence at the show. ZTE is expected to reveal a Firefox OS-powered device alongside a phablet dubbed the Grand Memo. Huawei, meanwhile, is getting rumor-mongers excited by hinting at the introduction of a phone running on an eight-core processor, which could be huge considering Samsung's rumored struggles with its own eight-core tech.
Just because smartphones get all the glory these days doesn't mean tablets won't have something to say at the MCW. The most exciting news is that Samsung will display its new Galaxy Note 8.0, an eight-inch tablet designed to compete against the iPad mini. Images of the slate have already leaked, meaning it's pretty much guaranteed to be there.
Meanwhile, Sony is also planning to show off a powerful high-end tablet, called the Xperia Tablet Z. Sony successfully made some noise when it first announced the 10.1-inch device, whose specs will make it both the thinnest and lightest tablet available. Like the Xperia Z smartphone, it is going to be waterproof, and its internal tech is going to be impressive.
These are just some of the products we're looking forward to seeing next week, but there's sure to be a lot of impressive and quirky stuff on display. Check back with iTech Post throughout the week to see what else is happening in Spain.